Tag Archives: hudson river

Meet #ScienceWoman Kathryn Jahn

Kathryn Jahn Branded

Celebrate Women’s History Month with us! This year, we’re looking forward by honoring women across the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and female conservationists who are making history in our agency and in conservation. With each #ScienceWoman, we’ll share a photo and a couple questions and answers about her work. Stay tuned for posts throughout the month!

Kathryn Jahn represents our agency and the Department of the Interior as the case manager in the Hudson River natural resource damage assessment. She spends time in both our Northeast Regional Office in Massachusetts and our New York Field Office in Cortland.

Kathryn in the Adirondack Mountains of New York. Photo courtesy of Kathryn.

Kathryn in the Adirondack Mountains of New York. Photo courtesy of Kathryn.

Kathryn studied biology and geology at the State University of New York (both Binghamton and Buffalo). She says, “I started college as an English major, and still consider myself, at heart, to be a writer. As a fish and wildlife biologist, I spend most of my days writing.”

Q. What’s your favorite thing about working for the U.S. Field and Wildlife Service? A. One of the things I most enjoy about my work is that every day brings something new – it’s like a puzzle with each day one more piece fitting in. I have the privilege of working with the best researchers and scientists and most highly respected experts in the field. And I believe — in the words of Theodore Roosevelt, another New Yorker: “Far and away the best prize life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing,” and that’s exactly what I get to do and do every day with incredible colleagues who share my passion.

Photo courtesy of Kathryn.

Photo courtesy of Kathryn.

Q. If you could have one incredible animal adaptation, what would it be? A. I’ve often thought that being “polyphyodont” (animals whose teeth are continuously replaced) rather than “diphyodont” (two successive sets of teeth), as humans are, would be a much better design. Imagine if, like sharks, we could just grow a new set of teeth as we needed them. Or like rabbits, if our molars and incisors were all continuously growing! No need to go to the dentist for fillings, or root canals, or caps! Just wait till the new teeth come in! Of course, we’d all be gnawing on the wood furniture in our offices, or sitting around chewing on logs at night, or be scheduling “filings” with our dentists, so there might be some downsides to being polyphyodont.

 See more #ScienceWoman profiles!

Protecting, restoring and celebrating estuaries—where salt and freshwater Meet

Tivoli Bays are one of the four tidal wetlands protected by the Hudson River Research Reserve.  Photo courtesy of NYSDEC

Tivoli Bays are one of the four tidal wetlands protected by the Hudson River Research Reserve. Photo courtesy of NYSDEC

Below the Federal Dam at Troy, the Hudson River becomes an estuary, where fresh waters meet salt waters.

In 1982, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration designated four sections of the Hudson River (Piermont Marsh, Iona Island, Tivoli Bays and Stockport Flats) as a National Estuarine Research Reserve. This reserve covers 4,838 acres of coastal wetlands along 100 miles of the Hudson River in New York State.

The estuary supports extraordinary biological diversity and provides important benefits to humans, yet these habitats have been diminished, damaged and disconnected by human activity.

In the early 1970s, toxic compounds known as polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, were discovered in the water, fish and sediment of the Hudson River below General Electric’s plants at Hudson Falls and Ford Edward in New York. These PCBs have contaminated all parts of the Hudson River, including its estuary.

The responsibility for restoring natural resources that have been injured by hazardous substances (such as PCBs) belongs to the natural resource trustees, through a natural resource damage assessment. Trustees are stewards of the public’s natural resources.

For the Hudson River, the trustees are the U.S. Department of Commerce (through NOAA), the U.S. Department of the Interior (through our agency) and the State of New York (through NYSDEC). The trustees are conducting a natural resource damage assessment to measure the harm caused by PCBs, with the goal of restoring these natural resources so that wildlife can thrive and people can more fully enjoy the river.

We’re highlighting National Estuaries Week with a reblog from our partner, NOAA. Check it out below. Learn more about the Hudson River Estuarine Research Reserve in these NYSDEC and NOAA websites.

PCBs: Why are banned chemicals still hurting the environment today?

PCBs released from General Electric facilities on the Upper Hudson River present a serious and long-term threat to the health of the entire Hudson River ecosystem. Living resources at every level of the Hudson River’s aquatic, terrestrial, and wetland-based food chains are contaminated with PCBs. The Service, NOAA, and NYDEC are measuring the harm caused by this contamination.